No-board issued at Queen’s, Queen’s high-risk labour strategy revealed in principal’s now-public letter
In a June 25 letter to the university’s board of trustees, now made public, Queen’s principal, Daniel Woolf, told trustees that the administration’s current negotiating strategy could lead to “major labour disruptions” which will be “unpleasant and potentially reputation damaging “ but “may be a necessary step in order to achieve success in salary restraint and pension reform.”
Queen’s is making significant demands of its employee groups, including faculty. The administration has tabled demands at the faculty bargaining table in the areas of pensions, job security for contract academic, and compensation – while refusing displaying no real effort to compromise or negotiate a settlement. It has rejected out of hand faculty association proposals on how to address issues facing the university, including pension plan changes.
Queen’s had asked for no-board reports in its current negotiations with both the Queen’s University Faculty Association and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 450 technical employees at Queen’s.
On August 2, the Queen’s faculty association was notified that a no-board decision has been issued with respect to faculty negotiations, effective July 29, meaning that QUFA and the administration will be in a strike/lockout position on August 15. Mediation is scheduled for August 11, 12, 13, and 14.
“We are still hoping for a fair negotiated settlement, said QUFA President Paul Young.
A no-board had been issued earlier for the CUPE talks, but Queen’s and CUPE have agreed to extend their legal strike/lockout deadline to Monday, August 8.
“The Queen’s administration appears more interested in fostering labour disruption to achieve its goals – even if it means harming students and the reputation of the university,” said OCUFA Executive Director Mark Rosenfeld in a statement last Friday, “than coming to a workable settlement between the parties that’s in the long-term interests of the university.”
Rosenfeld described the Queen’s bargaining stance as “an iron-fisted negotiation strategy that will tolerate, indeed provoke, labour disruptions in order to achieve its goals.”
QUFA, CUPE, and the United Steelworkers, which are all in bargaining with Queen’s, issued a joint letter to Woolf, saying Queen’s is not bargaining.
“You are forcing employees to the brink and demanding their submission,” the letter states. “The consequences cannot be minimized. It will take years to recover from the pain and distrust which will be felt far beyond the borders if the campus.”